Writer-director W.S. Anderson’s overseeing of the Resident Evil zombie franchise has proven to be both lunatically haphazard and dementedly enthusiastic. Does the Brit auteur lie awake at night plotting out a Christopher Nolan-esque, multi-film character arc for Milla Jovovich’s undead-battling heroine Alice? Hey, maybe he does and maybe doesn’t. But he definitely spent time working out a reason why Jovovich — Anderson’s real-life wife — should spend the majority of this fifth film in the series kicking zombie butt while sporting an S&M-styled catsuit which makes the most of the actress’ derriere.
Truth be told, Jovovich’s outfit is one of the less ridiculous facets of the berserk, intermittently entertaining Resident Evil: Retribution. This time around we track Alice as she seeks to escape a vast, subterranean Umbrella Corporation testing facility in Kamchatka that features monsters aplenty, recreations of assorted capital cities, and clones of characters from the first movie (a plot point which conveniently allows the return of various actors from that film, including a double duty-doing Michelle Rodriguez). Why did Umbrella capture Alice in the first place? Why is former Umbrella chief Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) so desperate to remove her from the corporation’s clutches that he sends a band of commando-types half way around the world to rescue her? Indeed, given the planet has been overrun by hungry, tentacle-sporting zombies, why would anyone expend so much energy on a single person no matter how form-fitting her clothes? It’s tempting to say that Anderson is not really in the ”Why?”-answering business. But during the film’s final sequence the director explains all while also suggesting that the franchise’s nuttiest days are, remarkably, yet to come. B?